Ever since I first heard the new ZenCha location on Gay Street would serve sushi, I've been breathlessly anticipating its arrival. Sushi downtown! The one thing I've always lamented not having within walking distance of my office. Sadly, ZenCha's sushi counter has been put on the backburner for a bit. But happily this ahi tuna and avocado sandwich, the sushi-est item on the current menu, did the trick and nearly satisfied my raw fish cravings. As a lunch special, you can order a half sandwich with a cup of soup and a side salad.

If you haven't made it over to the new ZenCha, definitely make plans to check it out soon. The space is light and airy, with a full wall of windows looking out over bustling Gay Street. It's a serene spot to escape the workday for an hour and zone out over a pot of tea.

I also enjoyed these vegetable dumplings as a pre-lunch snack. The menu is a mix of Asian specialties (like okonomiyaki pancakes and bowls of ramen) with what they're calling "Teahouse Specialties" -- heartier entrees of quiche and baked salmon.

The space, right at the corner of Gay and Pearl Alley, is quite beautiful, and a nice addition to the Downtown lunch scene. Here's a look around the restaurant:

As at the other two ZenCha locations, teas from around the world is the centerpiece. The restaurant's "tea ambassadors" will eagerly guide you through the lengthy menu, offering daily samples as well if you're not sure what to try. This is a pot of the Sunny Energizer, one of the ZenCha Herbal Remedies, made with fresh apple, honey, fennel, orange peels, cinnamon, raspberry leaves, mint and bean peals. It vowed to "energize your body and spirit," and certainly lifted my spirits.

ZenCha Downtown
19 Gay St., Downtown